TRIBAL PROBLEMS IN INDIA by SwathiSalivendra

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									1 Genesis of Tribal Problems
The basic features of our constitution indicate direction of change or modernization, ifone wants to say, of
our society. Ours is a casteless, secular, democratic and socialistpolity and society. One may question this
type of direction itself, but that could be aseparate issue for discussion. So far as this paper is concerned,
this type of directionprovides point of departure for discussion on how we have formulated tribal
problem.
          The point that follows from this is that we have shaped or we are supposed tohave shaped our
policies and programmes to realize this type of change. We judge failureor success of our policies and
programmes from this point of view. But what is moreimportant here is that our constitution considers –
at least formally – every citizen asequal. Legal and administrative framework, institutional network and
policies ofdevelopment in general are also considered suitable for tribals. Of course, tribals are partof the
Indian society and general problems of consciously changing or modernizingIndian society are also
applicable to them. But they form a special case in this widerframework and the problem is the nature and
type of this special category. Perhaps thereis no unanimity among sociologists and anthropologists on this
point. So the ―problemthat has been exercising in the minds of thinking persons in India, especially after
theattainment of independence, is what should be the place of tribal peoples in theframework of the
Indian nation and how they should be developed and brought to a levelwith the rest of the people –
socially, economically, culturally and politically‖ (Datta-Majumdar, 1995:25). There were several debates
on this issue at the dawn ofindependence. Three different approaches – of isolation, assimilation and
integration –were put forth. Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took initiative in accepting the approach
ofintegration (Nehru, 1955: 1-8) for tribal development policy. Thus, ―the tribal policy,apart from the
constitutional provision, is the contribution of late Prime Minister ShriJawaharlal Nehru. He (also)
advocated five principles, known as the tribal ‗panchshil‘ ‖(Joshi, 1987:11). Our various policies and
programmes of tribal development aresupported to have been based on this approach of integrating tribals
with the mainstreamand bring them at par with rest of the people. Of course, someone may raise
questionabout this so-called ‗mainstream‘, and that is a worth raising issue. However, it does notconcern
us at this juncture.
          Though it must be agreed that ―the Indian experiment of tribal development hasbeen hailed as
unique in the Third World perspective of the treatment of the indigenouspeople, one has to take a
balanced view of its processes‖ (Singh, 1982:1322). On oneside, the tribals have become full citizens.
They have, by and large, maintained theiridentity. They have not extinguished and maintained their
demographic growth rate. If weconsider this as a part of the integration process, why again the question of
genesis aroseafter more than four decades of our experience? Our tribal development policies
andprogrammes assumed that all the tribals will develop and will ‗integrate‘ themselves withthe so-called
‗mainstream‘. This has happened only in a symbolic way. Most of ourresearchers agree on this point that
as a result of the planned tribal development,stratification on secular lines has taken place among tribals
and only a small section hasbeen able to take advantage of our tribal development programmes. This
being so, thequestion arises: where did we go wrong? For sometimes people believed that this isbecause
of inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy that the programmes were not

implemented well. We created special administrative set-up for tribal development andwe know that it
has not shown better results. At some places tribals‘ cooperatives ofdifferent types were shaped. They
worked well in the beginning. But their benefits didnot percolate to the lower strata of tribals.
Experiments of tribal development throughvoluntary efforts have proved successful only in certain cases
and in certain pockets. Onthe other hand, land alienation pushes the pauperized tribals out of their villages
andhordes of tribal seasonal migrants move from place to place in search of work. Generally,dams have
been constructed in tribal areas by involuntary acquisition of their land. Thetribals lose their land, habitat
and milieu resulting into pauperization, causalization andpsychological stresses and strains. Official and
illicit felling of forest trees have benefitedoutsiders while tribals face loss of their environment. This
would lead us to revisit ourbasic assumptions about tribal problem. Is tribe a special category? If yes, of
what type?What is the nature of tribal-non-tribal relationship? Why they are backward? Is this
tribalbackwardness a cultural backwardness?
‘Tribe’ and Its Indian Context
The word ‗tribe‘ is generally used for a ―socially cohesive unit, associated with aterritory. The members
of which regard themselves as politically autonomous‖ (Mitchell,1979:232). Often a tribe possesses a
distinct dialect and distinct cultural traits. The term‗primitive tribes‘ was often used by western
anthropologists to denote ―a primaryaggregate of peoples living in a primitive or barbarous condition
under a headman orchief‖ (Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, Vol.15). Various anthropologists define tribe
asa people at earlier stage of evaluation of society. This gave a sort of moral tone that thetribals are yet to
develop and become civilized. It is because of this that they were alsoknown as ‗primitive‘, ‗barbarous‘,
or ‗aboriginal‘ people. This sort of moralistic overtonewas later on reduced by using terms like ‗per-state
society‘, ‗pre-literate society‘, ‗folksociety‘ or ‗simple society‘. All these terms with evolutionary
approach indicated that thetribals are backward in comparison to other advanced groups. In this direction,
tribaldevelopment means a transformation from pre-state to state society, from simple tocomplex society
and like.
           An ideal type of tribe can be characterized as a society homogenous unit havingits own dialect,
political and cultural institutions and territory which isolate it from theoutside influences. This sort of
ideal type was constructed by early Britishanthropologists of evolutionary school and it fitted well to
some of the African,American, and Australian tribes which they studied in those days. This type
ofconstruction suited best to their cultural hegemony and colonial interests. In Indianlanguages we do not
have any synonym for the word tribe. This means that the tribal –non-tribal categorization did not exist in
pre-British era. With this background, whenBritish scholars started studying India, they wanted to call
Indian society as a society ofvarious tribes. A Ph.D. thesis of Calcutta University was entitled as ‗Some
KashatriyaTribes of Ancient India‘ (Law, 1923). Looking to the cultural diversity of Indian sub-continent
and existence of certain highly ‗civilized‘ groups according to their ownstandards, the British scholars
could not describe entire sub-continent as tribal. However,they were not sure about identifying particular
groups as ‗tribe‘ or ‗caste‘. Lathamdescribes certain groups in Punjab and Sindh as tribes. He describes
Lepcha and Kirata asNepalese tribes. But while describing ethnology of Gujarat, he was not sure whether
the

Memon, the Khoja, the Sidi, the Ahir, the Rabari and several such groups are tribes ornot. So he simply
describes them (Latham, 1859: 262-271). Even Enthovan, in hisacclaimed work, Tribes and Castes of
Bombay Presidency, does clearly distinguishbetween caste and tribe.
         Nationalists in India charged anthropologists for destroying national identity bycreating a
category called ‗tribe‘ for which there was no synonym in almost all Indianlanguages. However, it should
be noted that in India it was not the anthropologist but thecolonial officer who played the key role as an
adviser, researcher and administrator intribal affairs. Ghurye writes: ―In the Census Report of 1891,
Baines arranged the castesaccording to their traditional occupations. Under the category of agricultural
and pastoralcastes, he formed a sub-heading and named it ‗forest tribes‘. In next two censuses, thoseof
1901 and 1911, Sir Herbert Rieley and Sir E.A. Gait included the so-called animists…Dr. Hutton, at the
1931 census, followed Baines, but substituted the term ‗primitivetribes‘ for ‗forest tribes‘‖ (Ghurye,
1943:7). It is necessary to remember here that it wasonly Ghurye who did not accept the category of
‗tribe‘ as propounded by the British. Butmost of the Indian academic, under the influence of their British
counterparts, acceptedthe evolutionary definition of tribe (Vidyarthi and Rai, 1976: 167-174). However,
when itcame to determining elements of tribes for the purpose of naming a group as tribe, therewas no
unanimity. The degree and range of differences, especially with reference to theirrelations with the non-
tribals, show so much variation that it was extremely difficult,almost impossible, to evolve one single
ideal type of Indian tribals. There is so greatvariations in their ways of life, past and present, that any
attempt to classify them wouldremain arbitrary in absence of its total understanding.
          But one thing is certain that except a few groups all the ‗tribals‘ had relations with‗non-tribals‘.
What is necessary is to define the nature and type of that relationship. Wewill deal with this issue in the
latter part of this paper.
          In the absence of a suitable definition of tribals, we have resorted to arbitraryselection of certain
social groups living in forests and hills and we have belied them as‗scheduled tribes‘ for the purpose of
some special programmes to be given to them asprescribed by the constitution. The story of how various
social groups were included inthe schedule is well known and needs no repetition. It was exigency and it
was alsonecessary to immediately select certain groups for providing special programmes. But itwas not
necessary for our scholars and administrators to forcibly fit the characteristics,described by western
anthropologists, to the ‗scheduled tribes‘ of India.
          This being so, social scientists have, today, moved away from Britishanthropologists‘ notion of a
tribe as an isolate, homogenous, autonomous unit. Now theyview tribals in relations to non-tribals (Dube,
1977). This sort of change in perspectivechanges our entire view towards tribal problem.
India is a very complex society. It is not the best example of plural society,because while pluralism
stresses cleavages and discontinuities between the sections ofpeople differentiated by race, ethnicity,
religion or culture, there has been an all-pervasive sense of cultural unity, interactions and
interdependence and sharing of certaincommon symbols in spite of multifold diversities. Tribals were not
alien, their isolationwas only partial and relative, and throughout the history they were part of
Indiancivilizational universe. They were part of this wider civilization, at the same time they were
different. They were not part of caste hierarchy in general. They were also not part

of ‗Sanatan Dharma‘.
Nature of the Tribal Problem
         Tribal problem has a reference to non-tribals. Comparatively, they are consideredbackward in
almost all walks of life. Now, the question is, what is the nature of thisbackwardness? ‗Backwardness‘
and ‗tribal backwardness‘ have been defined in variousways depending upon the approach that one takes.
All the definitions of backwardnessare based on arbitrary points of backwardness and development.
However, we shouldtake note of some approaches.
         The Classical anthropological approach defines backwardness in terms of culture.From the
evolution of culture point of view, there is obvious distinction between‗primitive‘ and ‗civilized‘,
between ‗simple‘ and ‗complex‘ societies, between ‗scattered‘and ‗dense‘ population and above all
between ‗pre-state (autonomous) society andsocieties that have developed state.
This kind of evolutionary approach also delineates various stages of economic
development on which different civilizations can be placed.
          Tribal backwardness is termed as ‗primitive‘ in this parlance, because they areconsidered to be
on lower stage of development. It is also believed that if tribals are putin contact with advanced culture,
they will learn and develop. People from ‗civilizedworld‘ become a sort of change agent when they come
into contact with tribals.
          Taking tribals as isolated from the mainstream of Indian culture several peoplehave opined that
this isolation should break and cultural contacts with the non-tribals willhelp them in overcoming their
backwardness. Several anthropologists in India have triedto prepare scale of development and placed
various tribal communities somewhere onthis scale after measurement. All tribal development
programmes have a basicassumption that the development administration will help tribals. Not only that
but someof the officers believe that they are there to develop tribals. This has happened onlypartially. On
the other hand, the non-tribal intervention has created certain problems likepauperization,
land
alienation
and
seasonal
migration.
          Indian social scientists have found the genesis of backwardness in socialsituations. The world
‗social‘ has been identified with caste and hence ‗defective castestructure‘ is considered to be the genesis
of backwardness. Following paragraphs lucidlydescribe the genesis of backwardness in terms of caste:
―It has been noted already that the problem of backwardness has arisen onaccount of the defective Hindu
social order. Even Islam and Christianity could notescape the all-pervasive influence of castes.‖
―Many representatives who met us, and especially those of younger generation,attributed the present
plight of a large number of the backward classes toeconomic backwardness and suggested with a facile
logic that the only way toremove social evils was to improve the economic conditions of the depressed
andbackward classes. The economic backwardness of a large majority is certainlyalarming, and in itself
constitutes a colossal problem. But we must recognize thatin India economic backwardness is often the
result and not the cause of socialevils. Our society was not built on an economic structure, but on the
medieval

ideas of ‗varna‘, caste and social hierarchy (Government of India, 1955:39).
         The idea of attributing backwardness to caste system has relevance in terms oftribal
backwardness also. Because it was postulated that the tribes were ‗backwardHindus‘—a part of Hindu
society and they were to be absorbed in the larger Hindusystem with the help of the process of
sanskritization. However, the process ofdevelopment that started was a secular one of the linking tribal
economy with nationaleconomy-that started penetrating in tribal region. The very development process
hascreated stratification on secular lines within tribal community.
The British notion of tribal backwardness stems from their notion of culturalbackwardness. The British
policy tried to separate tribals from the non-tribals. WhenBritish entered tribal areas, there were
encounters and uprisings. Hence, theadministration of such regions was separated from civil
administration. This came to beknown as ‗non-regulation system‘. It was believed that this system, with
its ―simplemethods of administration and avoidance of complicated rules and procedure, waspeculiarly
suited to aboriginal race‖ (Sinha, 1970: 6). In1874, the Scheduled DistrictsAct was passed as a result of
which civil and criminal justice, settlement operations andrevenue works were given to special officers in
this area. The Government of India Act of1935 provided for ‗excluded areas‘ and ‗partially excluded
areas‘ outside the scope of thelegislature and under the authority of the Governor. Various such acts were
passed totribal areas from rest of India. Of course, such a separation was arbitrary, because therewas no
clear demarcation between the tribals and the non-tribals. Varrier Elwin‘sapproach should be evaluated in
this context, but unfortunately his British birth came inthe way of the better appreciation of his views.
Some of his views on tribal problem stillhave a relevance.
          The British policy of isolation was opposed by the nationalists. They were veryclear that the
tribals were part of Indian society (or Hindu society as some have put it).The ground for this approach
was prepared by Shri A.V. Thakkar, popularly known asThakkarbapa, and some workers of ‗Servants of
India Society‘ who did pioneering workamong the tribes. Many nationalist leaders supported tribal
movements against theBritish. Congress, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, opposed the
segregation oftribals from rest of India. It asked its workers to go to tribal areas, establishas hr
ams andprepare them for the national struggle. Opposing British policy of isolation of tribals wasa part of
its anti-British and nationalist ideology. Hence, it naturally consideredassimilation of tribals with the non-
tribal India.
          Until independence, the general trend among sociologists and anthropologists wasto study the
social and cultural aspects of tribal life. The question of what to do with thetribes did not bother them
much. For them, it was clear that they were part of the Indiansociety and they believed that the difference
between the tribals and non-tribals wouldgradually vanish and the tribals will merge in the mainstream.
The only problem was tospeed up this process with as much ease as possible



Tribal-Non-Tribal Relationship
          Historically speaking tribals always had relations with the non-tribals. But theformation of
princely states by Rajputs in tribal regions led to a sort of relationshipbetween non-tribal kings and tribal
subjects. Tribal situation in Gujarat has not beenstudied from this point of view. This was a ‗winner-loser‘
or ‗patronage-exploitation‘type of relationship. Apart from the mythological stories of tribal-non-tribal
relations, therecorded history narrates that during Moghul period the land was in abundance and
Bhilswere living in forest leading as prosperous life as non-tribal rural folks used to live. Itwas during this
period that the Moghuls won over several kingdoms in Rajputana andRajput chiefs came to Gujarat.
Some of them came to forest areas and won the Bhils infierce battles. The Bhils had to run away and
settle in hills. The hill terrains were not thatfertile. The economic degeneration and relative isolation took
place between the 12th andthe 16th century. Kesrisinh of Gabbargah (near Ambaji) killed a Bhil chief and
establishedhis rule in Taranga in 1269 AD. Ashkaran was a well-known king in his line who wasnamed
as ‗Maharana‘ by Moghul king Akbar. In Panchmahal Jalamsinh established‗Jhalod‘ village as his capital
and subjugated Bhils of the surrounding area. One of hisdescendants named Kumar went further interior
and established ‗Sunth‘ estate in 1255AD (Parikh, 1979: 133-147). The states of Baria, Naswati Chhota
Udepur, Rajpipla,Vansda and Dharampura in tribal region have similar stories. In almost all cases the
Bhilchieftains lost and left the places to settle in interior forest.
          These historical records prove that the Bhils (not ‗tribe‘ in modern parlance) wereeither
subjugated or driven away in interior forests by invading Rajputs. The subjugationor life in forests
brought changes in their lifestyle and culture. But it is necessary toremember that this sort of culture is the
result of the historical experiences through whichthey have passed.
          In British and Gaikwad territories things took a fairly different shape. Gaikwadwon the kingdom
from a Bhil chief and established his fort which came to be known as‗Sogandh‘ (Desai, 1920). Gaikwad
invited Patidars from Kheda who cleared forests andsettled in tribal areas of Baroda in South Gujarat.
Dublas of Valsad and Surat, Vasavas ofBharuch and Rathwasd of Baroda were traditionally cultivating
land in this zone. TheRathwas were known as Rathwa Koli and Koli is a caste. However, they were
not‗owners‘ of land in legal sense of the term because land settlement was not done in thisarea. Patidars
settled here and became legal owners whereas tribals became theiragricultural labourers.
          The Parsis had fled into tribal belt in the 15th and 16th centuries to escape toprosecution at the
hands of Sultan of Gujarat (Hardiman, 1985). They settled in ruralSouth Gujarat and gradually became
landowners whereas erstwhile owners Dublasbecame their ‗halis‘ or landless labourers. How they became
landless labourers is to beseen in their land relations. Things were not much different in Rajasthan,
MadhyaPradesh and Maharashtra.
          As a result of the Muslim invasion of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Malwa that occurredduring that
time, many Rajput warriors fled these areas and came to settle in the Narmadavalley. Around 1437 AD,
the Rathore (Rajput) chieftain Anand Dev claimed for himself
the kingdom of Aliraipur, his kin carving up Phulmal, Sondwa and Jobat as their territory
(Baviskar, 1995: 54).
          This type of formation of states in tribal regions subjectedtriba ls to the Rajputauthority. Thus,
when the word ‗tribe‘ was coined for forest dwellers, they were notisolated and politically autonomous
people. They were already integrated within theadministration of British India or within the Indian states
where the British kept a watch.Thus, the backwardness of Indian tribes is because of this subjugation and
not because ofisolation and autonomy.
Though states were established in tribal regions, there was not much ‗administration‘ bynative states in
interior tribal villages. Native states invited non-tribal cultivators fromplains and settled them in not much
interior parts. Compared to native tribals, the non-tribal peasants came with superior agricultural
technology and produced surplus with thehelp of the tribal labourers. In almost all cases non-tribals who
came late becamelandowners whereas the native tribals became landless labourers. In Gujarat, this sort
ofmaster-servant relationship developed in some parts having mixed population.Backwardness of landless
labourer tribes should be attributed to this relationship. Thenon-tribal masters were against any sort of
social reform among these tribals and theywere harassing those tribals who were doing such activities
(Joshi, 1980: 21). Around1922 when Jugatrarn Dave went to Sarbhon village and started teaching
Halpatis, hisefforts met with failure because their masters did not allow Halpatis to attend school(Dave,
1975). Not only that, but they were kept as bonded laborers by the landownermasters and they had no
freedom tochoos e their fate (Breman, 1974: 36-45). Thedisintegration of ‗hali‘ (bonded labour) system
was even more painful for erstwhileservants. Now, he is free in a free market but has no job. The question
for him was notonly that of liberation but also of empowerment so that he gets his dues.
          When we talk of land and tribals, land acquisition for development purpose mustbe kept in mind.
Almost all dams are located in tribal areas. This location is importantbecause the irrigation helps non-
tribals in plains, while tribals get alienated from theirland. The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 provides for
cash compensation. It is assumedthat with the compensation in form of cash they receive, the tribal
oustees wouldpurchase land elsewhere and get resettled. The special situation of the tribals was nottaken
into consideration and policy for their rehabilitation was not formulated. As aresult, several thousand
tribal oustees were deprived in such development projects (Joshi,1987: 21-26).
         Same is the case of tribal‘s relationship with forests. Prior to 1854, forest was nota scarce
commodity and tribals were traditionally enjoying forest rights. But then forestwood was required to build
battleships in England. It was also required to build railwaylines. When the British government started
cutting forest for this and such other purposes,there were encounters. By the enactment of the Forest Act
of 1864, the government tookaway all the customary forest rights of the tribals. They werea llowe d to
cultivate forestland only by paying fines.
Thus, tribal backwardness is neither cultural nor social (caste-based) at root. They werenot isolated,
homogeneous tribals as viewed by some British anthropologists. They hadrelations with people in plains.
But, in this relationship, they have always remained losersand suffered in one way or the other. This is so
in many other countries where nativetribals have lost to invaders. But, the context of tribal society with
the non-tribal societyis different in India and hence the nature of the problem is different. The tribals and
non-tribals have been living side by side for centuries. They were not completely cut off fromone another.
Conclusion
So, the tribals are part of the Indian society, at the same time they are different. Specialpolicy and
programmes are required to address and redress these differences.Whenwe plan for tribal
development, we have to regard these differences, take a specialnote of their different situations and
capabilities and provide them facilitation to developon the line they want to take. The very meaning of
development is unfolding from within.This means that the tribals have to unfold their capabilities to
develop. Outsiders cannotdevelop tribals; they can become only facilitators if they want to do so. If they
have tounfold from within, they must have participation in any development decision. Their feltneeds
should be transformed in development programmes. Nehru did this in slightlydifferent manner when he
proclaimed ‗Panchsheel‘.
         How can tribals participate in their development programmes? They canparticipate only if they
are considered as equals. The command and obey relationship cantake place between un-equals only.
Individual tribal is too weak to stand as equal againsta non-tribal. So they have to get, organized. The
forms of organization could be differentdepending upon different programmes. The non-tribals have to
work as facilitator fororganization-building. Once organized on the basis of felt needs, they will
developcontent and programmes for their participation. When tribals‘ participation, in
differentdevelopment programmes, is accepted in various departmental documents, it should notremain
ceremonial.
2 Parameters of Tribal Development
Some Key Conceptual Issues
Anand Kashyap
‗Development‘ of a society, to my mind, instead of being a monolithic and linear processof creating
economic abundance, is a holistic process of social transformation from lesscreative to greater creative
participation of its members at the individual and collectivelevels. Emphasis on ‗creative participation‘ of
the members and institutions impliesminimization of the entropy or disorderliness in a social system and
maximization of‗creativity‘ so as to achieve a symbiotic transformation of ‗man-nature and
society‘relationship without generating any antithesis or conflicts between them. In thisperspective I have
tried to raise two conceptual issues with regard to ‗development‘: oneconcerning the econocentric-
modernization model of development and the other
concerning pluralism vis-a-vis national integration with special reference to tribal culture.Most of the
problems confronting a society in general and tribal societies in particularemanate from the prevalent
model of ‗development‘ which can be characterizedculturally as a sterile and economically a monolithic
model, i.e., ―capital and energyintensive, extractive, discriminatory, waste-generating and non-
regenerative, power andwealth centralizing, and corporate in nature.‖
Let me elaborate little more on my emphasis on ‗creativity‘. ‗Work‘ in fact has twoaspects or values, viz.,
the instrumental or the economic value and aesthetic or theexpressive value. A human action or work has
a third dimension also, i.e., atranscendental value, but it does not concern us here. If, instead of placing
balanced andintegral emphasis on both the aspects, only one aspect is emphasized, as it happens in
the prevalent model of ‗development‘, itwill rob the human endeavour of its creative thrust to excel and
breed alienation and entropy in realms and levels of social living. Such an approach can impose a policy
decision fromabove but can never unfold the latent creative potentialities of a society from withinresulting
into a lopsided, quantitative and monolithic ‗deve1opmnt‘ with the increase inthe extent of alienation at
the individual and collective levels both. In my perceptiontherefore, I am inclined to define ‗development‘
as a process of ‗increase in creativity‘and decline in entropy or extent of criminality which is possible
only when a holistic andsymbiotic process of social transformation could be ensured. With regard to such
aprocess of ‗development‘ the question is not merely that of creating abundance orprosperity as an
alternative to the removal of poverty, but it also involves questions suchas: Is abundance real alternative
to poverty? If yes, then, how it is created and what ire itscosts, who bears them and how the benefits of
‗development‘ are distributed or who isbenefited by the outcome most: the ‗haves‘ or the ‗have-nots‘?
The problem ofdistributive justice again is not a simple problem which could be tackled
exclusivelythrough some structural-institutional mechanism alone. It involves a great deal of moralissues
as well as the realms of self awareness or consciousness also. The collapse of awell-structured system of
Soviet edifice, reinforced through well-thought out ideologyand institutional mechanisms, is not a distant
example of human history to support ourcontention.
Many problems concerning tribal development like displacement, poverty alleviation,health and disease,
land alienation, indebtedness, criminalization, etc., in fact, are theresultant effects of such a
‗development‘ model of its econocentric perspective. Thoughthe much publicized ‗human face‘ of this
model projected various welfare schemes butthey are nothing more than cosmetics or administering pain-
killers instead of providing agenuine remedy to the ailment. It is quite an established fact that during the
last fewdecades of such a model of development disparities between the rich and poor, urban andrural,
nature and civilization have increased to a staggering proportion and the centralizedmega projects of
irrigation and power generation have shown more their inhuman face ofdisplacing the poor tribals and
generating revolts than harnessing the creative potentialsof the human lots that self-reliant and eco-
friendly, job-oriented smaller projects couldhave done. Take the case of mega irrigation projects which
have aroused a bigcontroversy recently. Movements launched against such projects by the social activists
and environmentalists like Sunderlal Bahuguna in Garhwal, Baba Amte and MedhaPatkar in Madhya
Pradesh and Maharashtra are quite well known. In a study of large-scale projects with regard to the
displacement problem it was estimated that during 40years from 1951 to 1991, 185 lakh people have been
displaced--an average of 4,60,000unfortunates every year. And, three out of every four ousted by such
dams are tribals andout of 77 per cent oustees only 29 per cent are rehabilitated.2 Paradoxically, the
tribalswho have been the genuine and rightful children of Mother Nature are being projected asinimical to
the conservationist policy vis-a-vis the urban elite who in reality are the worstexploiters of the forest
culture and its biotic wealth. A paper prepared by the PlanningCommission of India states that a large
majority of India‘s population is beingincreasingly denied access to natural resources. But, on the other
hand, the flow of theseresources to urban centres, to support luxury consumption, continues
unabated.3 Thebiggest failure of the modernization model of development is that it has disintegrated
thesymbiotic holism of ‗man-nature and society‘ relationship through its overemphasis oneconocentrism
and consumerism, and the result is alienation and lopsided development.The enduring and sustainable
development, therefore, is always a self-generative, self-reliant, need-based and not greed-based, and an
emancipatory process of socialtransformation which leads a society to become a ‗self-re liant‘ and
‗creative‘ societyrather than merely a ‗developing‘ or a ‗developed‘ society as such. Generating
affluenceor abundance is not a sufficientcon d it io n of genuine ‗deve1opment‘. Development, tomy
mind, is not a simple bipolar or linear process of change from the levels of‘ scarcityto that of abundance
as in a capitalist society where consumerism is the religion andmarket functions as God, but rather it is a
three-dimensional process involving a take-offstage from the levels of ‗poverty‘ and ‗deprivation‘ and
culminating into the thirddimension of evolving a ‗self-reliant‘ and ‗creative‘ society where
‗development‘,‗environment‘ and ‗culture‘ go hand in hand and human face of man is not lost.
Instancesof such a ‗development‘ are though not frequent but not non-existent also. The exampleof
Ralegan Shindi—a small village in Maharashtra, experiencing a holistic developmentfrom economic to
cultural levels under the selfless and inspiring leadership of AnnaHazare is the burning example. Ralegan
Shindi is a small village of the population of1,200 divided into 220 families (1971 census) which earlier
had a declining agricultureand a vanishing forest and as a result to compensate this loss the entire village
took toillicit brewing of liquors as the primary industry. This illegal industry, in turn broughtmany outside
developments making this small village known in the police records as thevillage of toughs and goons,
thus nourishing a culture of criminality. Government andother voluntary agencies like Tata Relief
Committee and the Catholic Relief Servicebrought in medicines and provided financial help also for
constructing village wells, treeplantation, etc., but that proved to be mere window-dressing. Anna Hazare,
a retiredmilitary person, inspired by the writings of Swami Vivekananda, took the challenge ofupliftment
of Shindi and approached this task through cultivating moral awareness, i.e.,generating self-awareness
first with the help of renovating the abandoned and dilapidatedvillage temple called Yadav Baba‘s temple
and this shrine in turn served as the heart ofentire community--a real community centre—of all socio-
religious activities (satsang)and moral regeneration programmes. Anna Hazare‘s second task was to close
down allliquor brewing and alcohol and narcotics. The third step was the creation of systems toimprove
the economy of the village with an emphasis on self-reliance in terms of humanas well as natural
resources. Thus, the basic emphasis of Anna Hazare was to evolve a‗civil society‘ rather than an ‗affluent
society‘—a society which is responsible to itselfand its environment, and responsive to the needs of its
members, rich or poor, upper casteor lower caste.4
As K. S. Singh informs, in the similar vein, creative spirit of the tribals in history wasunleashed through
the Bhakti movements spearheaded by Chaitnya who had passedthrough the Jharkhnand, and Kabir who
cared for the deprived lot during medieval times.These moral and social reform movements in different
saintly orders brought a moral andsocial reform among Oraons, Santhals, Mundas and Bhils. In this sense
‗TribalBhagatism‘ served as a bridge between the tribal (jana) and non- tribal(ja ti) Hindusociety.5 In
modern times it was Mahatma Gandhi who could make a creative use of thiscultural tradition. While to
Hindu peasantry he appeared as a Bhakti preacher, to tribalsas Bhagat. He spoke predominantly in Bhakti
idioms of Rama Rajya, efficacy ofRamnam, service to Daridra Narain in his evening prayer meetings
which acted as themost effective two-step flow of communication with the masses. His moral
preachings,teetotalism, maintaining purity, etc, appealed to tribal Bhagat leaders and
generatedmovements like Tana Bhagat movement among Oraons, Haribaba movement among theHos and
allied tribes and Rajmohini movement among the Gonds. It was Gandhi whocould infuse into these
traditional Bhakti movements political overtone of the freedommovement and ideology ofswades hi ands
war aj, civil disobedience andahims a. Amongthe Bhils of Rajasthan and Gujarat too such an impact of
Gandhi was quite evident.Thakkar Bappa—a Gandhian--quotes a Bhilbhajan to this effect: Do you know
whatGandhi tells you?

Give              up             liquor,             eating              meat, stealing,             rioting,

spincha          rk        ha          , educate         children,        and          worship          Ram

as the true God.6
Thakkar Bapa worked out quite successfully to transform tribals though Bhil Seva
Mandal and Ashrams (residential schools).
          Unlike government programmes which are predominantly economistic in natureand conducted
half-heartedly andinterfered selfishly by the politicians, Gandhi andother Bhakti-based approaches were
primarily cultural, value-centric and educational thatsought to unfold their creative energies and weld
them in the task of nation-building.Thus, the first issue concerns with the econocentric and modernization
model ofdevelopment. The second major issue on which I want to share my thoughts is the issueof
national integration vis-a-vis pluralism, i.e., the issue of creating unity within diversitywith special
reference to tribals.
In contrast to many other civilizations like Greeco-Roman and Semetic, Indiancivilization can be
characterized as ‗pluralist‘ in orientation which not only toleratescontrasts and diversity but even goes a
step ahead to seek enrichment from the diversitythrough various kinds of acculturative processes ranging
from arts and ideas to faiths andphilosophies. Right from the ancient times the mainstream or the
dominant Aryo-Brahmanic tradition has co-existed with the native aborigines(ja nas ) and,
despitedifferences and minor conflicts, learnt from each other and co-existed without defacingone
another‘s identity and styles of life. This kind of pluralism can be characterized as the‗integral pluralism‘
where cultural diversity and social minorities co-exist within aloosely structured unity and the part enjoys
a fair degree of autonomy within the whole.
          The integral pluralism can be illustrated with the help of ‗oceanic circles‘ whereeach circle is
autonomous to a degree but at other levels merges itself into theencompassing ring of waves.
Thus aboriginals and tribes as ‗minorities‘ had traditionally been a part of Indiancivilization and their way
of life had contributed a great deal in its formation anddevelopment throughout the history. It is only a
few hundred years back that tribals werecut-off from the mainstream and marginalized. With the onset of
industrialization andurbanization, coupled with the increasing state interference and control in every
sphere oflife, tribals were accorded an isolationist treatment. British gave a new form and meaningto
traditional ethnic pluralism. From ‗minority‘ status they got the ‗marginal‘ status. Thiswas ‗equidistant‘
notion of pluralism which meant equidistanciation of different ethnicgroups from the centre of power and
authority. The third kind of pluralism is thepluralism of ‗market economy‘ where instead of cultural
values or the political authorityas the binding force it is the force of ‗market economy‘ that controls and
coordinates theco-existence of heterogeneous groups. This is a typical neo-colonialist and
hegemonisticapproach of the modern capitalist world where pluralism leads to economic exploitationof
the Third World countries and exploitation of the weaker or marginal sections by thestronger ones
through creating economic dependence upon them. ‗Centre and periphery‘thesis has been its dominant
ideology. For the latter two approaches tribals constitute‗other societies‘ or ‗other culture‘, i.e., not an
integral part of one‘s own culture,deserving some concessions only and not the natural rights. Their
existence is justifiedeither as curios to be retained and conserved like museum pieces or proselytized
andassimilated into the mainstream hagemonism. It is only first approach of ‗integralpluralism‘ that seeks
to develop all ethnic groups and weaker sections as a part of one‘sown society and not merely as a
marginal group or the other society. The isolationistpolicy which envisaged to keep tribal aborigines a
separate ethnic identity is an outcomeof this approach and lately now the third approach to pluralism i.e.,
‗market economy‘approach has also joined hands with the British-initiated authoritarian pluralism
whichhas further marginalized tribals exposing them to double or rather triple exploitation, viz.,politica1,
religious and economic exploitation. Political exploitation is done by thepolitical parties through their
treatment of the tribals and ethnic groups as vote-bankdeposits and economic exploitation in the labour
markets by the contractors andindustrialists and cultural or religious exploitation by the missionaries and
otherinternational agencies.
Indian civilization has been characterized by Rabindra Nath Tagore as ‗Aranyak
Sanskriti‘, i.e., quintessentially a forest culture, for forest instead of representing a pre-civilized barbaric
stage on the evolutionary scale, has rather been the home of adeveloped civilization where Vedic hymns
were composed and Indian cosmology anddifferent philosophical systems were created. Forests served as
the abode of twoparadoxical cultures: one, the highly enlightenedr is his (seers) as the carriers of
highculture and second, the aboriginies or tribals (janas) ---the most unsophisticated lot livingin the caves
and mountains having their own cultural traditions and styles of life. Thus,like modern metropolis,
ancient forests too were the home of contrasts which sometimesopposed one another but were mostly
cooperative and dependent upon each other. Thenarratives in the epics ofRam ayana andMahabhar
ata provide ample testimony of thisnatural dependence between the ‗primitives‘ and the ‗civilized‘. The
word ‗primitive‘ isused here in the positive sense, instead of the prevalent negative one, to connote
thepower of vital aestheticism and holistic perception of human existence which theBrahmanic
civilization lacked. In fact, ‗primitivism‘ has served Indian civilizationvigorously as a back-shining of the
‗medal‘, i.e., an inevitable facet of the civilization. AsLannoy has observed, whenever the Great Tradition
was at the verge of sterility, whenasceticism and dry scholasticism threatened the general health of Hindu
society waves offresh energy seem to have coursed upward from the Antepodes, i.e., ‗minority‘
societies.7In fact, the dialectic of ‗aestheticism‘ vis-a-vis ‗asceticism‘, which is a major constant ofIndian
Civilization, has been a contribution of this co-existence of two different cultures.Among various
dichotomies likePrakriti and Purusha, Pravrittii andNivr itti oneessential component was a contribution
of the native cultural traditions. Even Ghotul wasthe prototype ofAs hr ama. Thus, the vitality of Indian
Civilization lies in the culturalcorrespondence between its ‗classical‘ and the ‗primitive‘ traditions and its
‗integralpluralism‘ which nourished diversity to enrich unity. It is in the medieval and modernepochs of
Indian history that with the closing of the social ranks and excessiveinterference of political authority
creativity of such an ‗integral pluralism‘ wasundermined and a hiatus between the ‗heterodox‘ and the
‗orthodox‘ traditions, betweenthe castes and the tribes and between the folk and the elite, got created.
It was in the post-independence India that a planned national perspective of
integrating tribals with the national mainstream was envisaged and the five-principles
(Panchsheel) of tribal development were evolved but those were hardly practised. The
basic limitation in the practised policies is that instead of utilizing the traditional wisdomand our own
cultural idioms as Mahatma Gandhi and other social activists didgovernment policies depend more on
bureaucrats and west-trained middle class expertisewhich lacks in coming to grips with the reality at
many points, specially with regard to itscultural moorings. Besides, instead of understanding and
deciphering traditional ‗integralpluralism‘ carefully, at the instance of politicians and vested interests, it is
mostly appliedin a distorted manner thus serving their own interests rather than that of the tribals.Mostly
we are metropolitanist in our outlook and looked at the tribals as ‗other people‘rather than as our own
brethren. The entire approach of according a ‗marginal‘ statusinstead of traditional ‗minority‘ status to
them reflects this attitude which should beproperly examined and reviewed15 Impact of Development
Projects on Tribals

It is axiomatic that all human societies, at all times, possess a creative capacity fordevelopment in
accordance with their own internal laws and necessities, as well asflexible adaptation-innovation
complexes corresponding to the changing localcircumstances. Whereas neither development nor spatial
mobility is unique to moderncivilization, the contemporary imposition of the supposedly universal model
ofdevelopment and the consequent dispossession problematique is of a qualitativelydifferent order, built
on the unequal socio-political structure, both at national and globallevels. Small wonder, social science
literature is by now overburdened withpost-modern critique of development history and the appalling
results.
          What then are the basic tenets and assumptions of this dominating developmentparadigm which
have direct bearing on tribal people‘s problematique? Being deeplyrooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition,
the paradigm of development has treated the restof the biosphere as an enemy to be defeated and tortured
for immediate maximization ofexchange value. This anthropocentric and essentially reductionist
perspective of naturalworld has eroded the ecological resource base of the humanity and destroyed
thecustomary tribal matrix of harmonious, holistic and anticipatory equilibrium betweennature and
culture.
Secondly, the doctrine of individualism and statist ideology being crucial for capitalistand neo-colonialist
development, the collective identities are severely impaired andstigmatized. Instead of evolving a
culturally specific balance between the principles ofindividualism and corporate existence, the
epistemology of individualism andprivatization of resource base have been furiously imposed for the
elimination of the veryexistence of indigenous collective identities, and usurp their territorial
resources,knowledge systems and the labour for the overtly exploitative market.
          Thirdly, thebasic assumption of reductionism in the modern sciencebe ing partsare ontologically
prior to the wholes, and the emphasis on uniformity, separability andhomogeneity among the objects
generated a context-tree abstraction of knowledge and anobsession for quantification like the GNP andra
te of economicgrowth rather thanquality of life.
          Fourthly, as the dominant notion of development is gradual triumph of reason,rationality and
value neutrality, it has consistently cultivated a contempt forconsciousness, values, ethicsand traditions,
and thereby, institutionalized the belief thatabandoning the traditional cultural and institutional elements
is thesine-qua-non ofdevelopment.
         And finally, the conception and theory of development firmly insists that themotive forces of
development of the backward people are external infusion of capital,technology and institutions, an alibi
for neo-colonial hegemony.




          In sum, development projects are handed down without any concern for thecultural-historical and
ecological complexities prevailing in the tribal regions. Basedupon anthropocentric premises of mutilation
nature, customary institutions and values,imposition of individualism, statist ideology and reductionist
worldview, thedevelopment practices have wrecked the physical, cultural and cognitive survival of
thelarge masses of the country, specially tribals,dalits , minorities,wom en and children.Development has
become a label for plunder and violence.
Much has been written on the large scale physical displacement of tribals due to
mega hydroelectric and miningprojects . But this indicates only a partial truthand
somehow, inadvertently perhaps, concealsthe unpalatable whole truth,of
capitalist exploitation and imperialist control. Development project encompasses a wholegamut of
territorial resources taken away by the state, powerful individuals, privateenterprises and transnational
corporations, as well as displacement from one‘s ownculture, creativity, community, power and
knowledge systems through involuntarysuperimposition of the values and institutions of the globally and
nationally dominantsocieties.
          The nexus between dominant development paradigm andadivas i imbroglio caneasily be traced
to the colonial era, though the criticality of their survival is essentially apost-colonial phenomenon.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the colonialadministration began the process of conferring
legal titles of landownership to individualsin some tribal regions, and treated the rest of the land as res
nullius which effectivelymeant absolute ownership of the state. After independence, private ownership
isinstitutionalized and massive customary corporate lands and land-based resources arealienated by both
the state and private entrepreneurs.
Survey and settlement of land happens to be the prerequisite for conferring individualproprietorship. But
large parts of tribal areas still remain unsurveyed, and elsewhere theadopted method of cadastral survey
precludes measurement of land beyond 90 slope.Consequently, between 25 and 40 per cent of cultivated
lands of the tribals arederecognized, and/or metamorphosed the chief/headman as the real owner of
land.Moreover, by derecognizing the corporate rights over land-based resources on whichnearly 15
million tribals currently depend to some extent, between 40 and 80 per cent ofthe totalla nd-bas
ed resources in tribal regions are snatched away without anycompensation whatsoever.Bes ides , 12 per
cent of the tribals who practice shiftingagriculture are treatedas illegal encroachers on the ground that the
land is notcontinuously cultivated.
          The increased commercial extraction of timber, establishment of numerous forest-based
industries and the so-called development projects have mutilated the forests, scaredaway the game,
polluted water resources, depleted the fish stocks and eventually,devastated the tribal livelihoods.
Agribusiness, plantations, afforestation by mono-cultural species, refugee settlements, villagification,
highway projects, some land reformmeasures, biosphere reserves, game sanctuaries, national parks,
reserved forests, etc.,

have displaced the tribal people from their survival bases and sustainable use of the forest
resources.
          A common feature shared by most of the tribal habitats is their remoteness andmarginal quality
of territorial resources. In the past, exploitation of such poor regions wasfound both difficult and
uneconomic. But, the recent rapid technological advancementand unrivalled economic and political
strength of world capitalism, and the rising powerof neo-colonialism through the G-7 directly and the
IMF, IBRD, etc., as agencies, havecreated favourable conditions for the evasion and extraction of natural
resources from theecologically fragile territories of the tribal peoples. Thus, forced evictions of tribals
tomake way for mammoth capital intensive development projects have become adistressingly routine and
ever-increasing phenomenon. The zealously extracted water andsub-surface minerals accentuated the
tribals‘ dispossession from their lands, forests,wildlife and water resources. The Land Acquisition Act,
1894 (and the amendment 1984)is indiscriminately invoked to alienate tribals‘ lands in the name of public
purposes. Thatis to say, for the greater good of the Indian people, few tribals should have to
makesacrifices in terms of surrendering their survival bases and accept the developmentprojects as fait
accompli.
It is not a mere coincidence that there is a heavy concentration of industrial and miningactivities in the
central tribal belt. All the massive steel plants, NALCO, heavyengineering concerns, most river basin
development schemes and hydropower projects, achain of forest-based and ancillary industries and an
increasing number of highlypolluting industries are located in this region. These projects are intrinsically
associatedwith the predatory activities of giant corporations and profit seeking agencies, connectedwith
an undercurrent of authoritarian and ethnocentric values and political institutions.Disinformation and
suppression of dissent are integral dimensions of these developments.And the process has become acute
ever since the adoption of New Economic Policy inmid-1991.
          Despite intense industrial activity in the central Indian tribal belt, the tribalemployment in
modern enterprises is negligible. Apart from the provisions ofApprenticeship Act, there is no stipulation
for private or joint sector enterprises to recruitcertain percentage of dispossessed tribal workforce. The
public too denies theirrecruitment under different pretexts. Meanwhile, the tribals are forced to live
injuxtaposition with alien capitalist relations and cultures, with traumatic results. They areforced onto the
ever-expanding low paid, insecure, transient and destitute labour market.Indeed, about 40 per cent of the
tribals of central India supplement their income byparticipating in this distorted and over exploitative
capitalist sector. Besides, many moreare slowly crushed into oblivion in their homeland or in urban
slums. This is nothingshort of ethnocide. At stake is their economic and cultural survival.
          Let us briefly glance at the hydroelectric projects. India happens to be the secondmost dammed
country in the world. It invested over Rs. 193 billion by 1985 and thefigures has probably doubled by
now. The World Bank has directly funded as many as 87large-scale dam projects in India as against only
58 for the whole of the African continentand 59 for Latin America. Between 1981 and 1990, the World
Bank provided $7 billionfor such projects in India, i.e., one-fifth of its total funding for 85 countries
world over.

Suffice to reiterate that almost all major darn projects in India are intrinsically linked toworld capitalism
and its obsequious national stooges. Nearly 60 per cent of these largedarns are located in central and
western India where about 80 per cent of the tribals live.But no more than 5 per cent of their lands are
assured of irrigation. In fact, the traditionalmethods of water harvesting and spreading are rendered non-
viable. The supply ofelectric power is again a luxury and constitute obvious exceptions in tribal regions.
          There is no reliable and complete information on the number of tribals displacedin the country
since independence. The estimates range between5 and 7 million-- mostlyby the dams, followed by mines
and industries— or approximately one in every tentribals has been displaced by different development
projects. It is not only the magnitudeof involuntary tribal displacement that should attract the special
concern but also thesacrifice of collective identity, historical and cultural heritage, and of course, the
survivalsupport. Small wonder, poverty, malnutrition, mortality, morbidity, illiteracy,unemployment, debt
bondage, and serfdom among the tribals is markedly higher.
          Despite the unfathomable gravity of the sufferings of the displaced in terms ofeconomic
pauperization, political disempowerment and cultural alienation, India--thelargest democracy on earth--is
yet to formulate a national policy for the relocation andrehabilitation of project oustees. For each project,
separate policies are made in an ad hocand ephemeral manner. Faced with the national and international
pressure, the Indiangovernment sought to have a national policy, but curiously there are at least three
draftsfrom three ministries in circulation. It seems a just policy demands political battles for arule of law
even in a democracy.
Incidently, the indiscriminate involuntary displacement of the tribals violates severalnational and
international instruments. For instance, the UN Convention on Civil andPolitical Rights (1966) holds that
―in no case may a people be deprived of its own meansof subsistence‖ (Art.2). Similarly, the UN
Declaration on Racism and RacialDiscrimination (1978) specially endorses, ―the right of indigenous
people to maintaintheir traditional structure of economy and culture‖ and stresses that ―their land,
landrights and natural resources should not be taken away from them‖ (Art.21). The ILOConvention 107
on Tribal and Indigenous Population (1957), which India ratified in1962, abides that when in exceptional
circumstances the tribals are displaced, they shallbe provided with lands of quality, at least equal to that
of the land previously occupied,individually and collectively by them, suitable for their present needs and
futuredevelopment. But hardly a quarter of the tribals displaced have been given alternate dryand mostly
infertile lands in exchange of the loss of their private lands. The pastoralists,hunters, food gatherers, forest
land cultivators, shifting cultivators, landless artisans,forest produce collectors and others who lack
individual titles to lands, constituting atleast one-third of the total displaced tribals, did neither receive
any compensation noralternate employment. The rest received meagre cash compensations in
severalinstalments, calculated on the basis of local market value of land, which incidentlyhappened to be
the lowest due to the restrictions on land transfer in scheduled areas. Evenif India does not ratify the
revised ILO Convention 169 (1989), it is legally bound by the

provision of ILO Convention 107 until it denounces it; and that is not possible before the
year 2002.
          India happens to be one of the worst countries with regard to the rehabilitation ofthe displaced. In
fact, it has provisions like the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition andDevelopment) Act, 1957 which deny
to compensate the displaced people. This is nowopen to TNCs. There is, of course, no legal provision
except in the sixth schedule area torecognize group rights of tribals over their land and land-based
resources and theircultural and political institutions.
In sum modern development projects not only physicallydis pla ce increasing number oftribal people
from their territorial survival resources and thereby destroy their traditionalsocio-economic structures but
also tend to mutilate their very identity, socialreproduction, culture, art forms, language skills and the just
limited autonomy. Althoughpublished as to serve the common interest of the Indian people, these giant
monstrositiesbenefit only a small affluent elite and multinational funding agencies and otherobsequious
stooges of world capitalism. Meanwhile, the tribal people get marginalizedand forced to enter the
dehumanized cheap labour market and slum residency. Theyinvariably face recolonization and general
economic subjugation, socio-culturalstigmatization and various degrees of ethnocide. The fundamental
asymmetry in thedecision making process is aggressively articulated through the ideologies
ofindividualism, modernization and nation building. Their customary holistic andanticipatory conception
of nature, generic and corporate character of land, communityoriented values and collective identities,
self-management systems, cognitive heritage,unique socio-cultural-linguistic framework and consensual
decision making process arederecognized and castigated resulting in a silent and subtle form of ethnocide.
Thecultural hegemony of the dominant global and national society has eroded thereproductibility of their
collective existence—an indication of irreversible ethnocide.
          Fortunately, however, an increasing number of conscious and concernedindividuals and
organizations in search of alternative visions of future tend to support thestruggles of the tribal people to
defend, recuperate and revalidate their customary rightsover their land and land-based endowments as
well as for protection of their cultures andself-esteem. Tribal survival and sustainable development
depend upon a system of self-development based on their own creative force, corporate productive
resources and cognitive structures, where the terms of dynamic are defined bythe concerned people
themselves. This, of course, is a political question as well as ahistorical imperative of our times.
          Meanwhile, it is not too much to ask from a democratic we1fare state acomprehensive national
policy on socio-economic and cultural rehabilitation of thedisplaced persons through an act of parliament
which should include (a) beforeundertaking any large scale project that displaces persons, all other
alternatives be explored, and that the considered and free opinion of all thepotentially affected are
ascertained; (b) the cost or rehabilitation, environmentalrestoration and ecological sustainability of the
region should form an integral part of the project; (c) the Land Acquisition Act, 1984 amended to prohibit
its misuse and define theterm ‗public purpose‘; (d) regulations applicable to non-tribals for alienation of
triballands be made applicable as far as possible to both public and private national andmultinational
enterprises; (e) the quantum of compensation be determined in the land ofindividual and corporate rights
over land and land-based survival resources, and thereshall be fair provision of royalty to the displaced on
the value of surface and sub-surfaceresources; and (f) resettlements be in terms of community for oustees
present and futuresocio-economic and cultural survival with dignity in the hostile surroundings.
The aforesaid thought at best can only be meaningful through political activism of thesystem. Struggles of
the affected persons alone may not have great significance. Thosewho look forward to a holistic,
ecologically sustainable and culturally specific model ofdevelopment need to join. And, the concerned
scientists need to provide the intellectualinput and play the advocacy role as is done in several other
countries. The voluntaryorganizations too need introspection, for they too are largely sponsored by such
fundingand sponsoring agencies which have vested interests in the current development projects.After all,
all these activists and academics are inclined to build a model of developmentbased on the principle of
satisfying individual human needs and raising the quality of lifethrough greater self-reliance, autonomy,
balanced interdependence between global,regional and local processes as well as
participatory democracy at the grassrootlevels, sustainability of use of natural resources and respect of
biological, cultural andcognitive diversities. In the absence of the appropriate articulation of the motive
forces,any alternative model of development, a paradigm shift, carries little significance. Inshort, the
alternative development paradigm must be situated in the matrix of decisivestruggles against imperialism
and their domestic allies aimed at a viable vision of socio-economic-cu1tura1 and ecological harmony.
The resultant scenario would be theemergence of multiple co-existing civilizations that respect both the
people and thenature. Tomorrow will judge us.

								
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